May 13th, 2019

Promised funding for autism program absent from budget estimates

QUEEN’S PARK — Monique Taylor, Ontario NDP critic for Children and Youth Services, said Doug Ford is once again creating anxiety and uncertainty for families of children with autism, with promised funding for the Ontario Autism Program absent from budget estimates.

The Conservatives committed to putting $600 million into the program after families fought tooth and nail against Ford’s plan to rip services away from children with the highest needs and give every child with autism less support. Budget estimates released last week allocate just $331 million to the program — the same inadequate funding that was part of the plan that caused such an uproar in the first place.

“Families of children with autism are upset. Their childhood budgets are not flowing, the telephone town halls are frustrating and PC members are not listening to them,” said Taylor. “Now budget estimates show that the promised new funding for the Ontario Autism Program does not exist.

“Why won’t the premier deliver what was promised to families and children living with autism?”

Estimates also show that the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, which serves some of Ontario’s most vulnerable people, is seeing its overall budget slashed by $900 million.

“Families of children with autism deserve to have certainty that their kids will receive support based on need,” said Taylor. “The government needs to commit to properly funding the Ontario Autism Program now, and flow that funding immediately.”